2018 China Plastics Summit: Difficult, for a reason
Date Published：3/19/2018 05:03:05 PM
Although much of the world’s plastic goes unrecycled, medical and food-contact applications face barriers to absorbing more material.
People around the world are paying more attention to recycling their plastic, creating potential new supply. A presenter at a plastics industry conference hosted by Ringier Events in Shanghai in March 2018, however, demonstrated how some end markets may continue to pose barriers to the use of scrap materials.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has developed standards to determine when and whether recycled-content plastics can be used in food-contact packaging.
The FDA spells out part of its rationale for this by writing that its “main safety concerns with the use of recycled plastic materials in food-contact articles are [that] contaminants from the post-consumer material may appear in the final food-contact product and that [additives] in the recycled plastic may not comply with the regulations for food-contact use.”
While the FDA’s standards are not applied globally, they are adhered to (or emulated) by governments in many other nations, and companies that wish to do business in the U.S. are aware of their enforcement. That awareness applies to the medical supply industry as much as it does to food and beverage makers.
Kim Xiangdan of Beijing-based medical supply manufacturer Lepu Medical Technology, said Chinese manufacturers in the medical device and supply sector are aware of global regulations, including the FDA’s. She also said the China FDA (CFDA) continues to develop new tests for compliance that pertain to the materials used in the sector.
Kim said the “risk-based assessments” tend to put the burden of proof on manufacturers who want to switch to a new resin or material, because with new materials, “new risks may become evident.” She said there have been “numerous cases where seemingly innocuous changes [had] disastrous consequences.”
However, she said manufacturers will nonetheless strive to improve their products and go through the testing procedure—or they may need to change the design or a material because of a previous “omission or error.”
Although some plastic scrap used in health care settings may be diverted from the landfill and directed to a recycling market, the necessary cautions of the sterile medical sector may continue to limit closed-loop prospects.
Source: Recycling Today Media Group
Date Published: March 15, 2018
Author: Brian Taylor